tv Second Look FOX December 23, 2012 11:00pm-11:30pm PST
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up next on a second look, far from home at the holidays. the people who have reached out to american troops over seas over the years. and the joy that awaits them when they finally make it home. plus a bay area family with a son in iraq and a man who made a long journey to see his son in the war zone. all straight ahead tonight on a second look. good evening and welcome to a second look. i'm julie haener. tonight far from home at the holidays. this is a tough time of year for military personnel serving overseas and their families here at home. but sometimes it's also the
season for homecoming. elizabeth pran first brought us this story on christmas eve last year. >> daddy, daddy. >> reporter: an emotional reunion at naval air station woube island in washington state. >> i love you. >> reporter: the final men and lady of the yellow jacket squadron returned to their families home for good from iraq. >> just in time for christmas. >> we worked hard to make sure that happened and we're here. it's a good day i think for everybody. >> reporter: just last week a caravan of u.s. soldiers and supplies crossing the border from iraq into kuwait marking the last american combat troops to leave after almost nine years of fighting. now at fort hood texas, tears and relief as these nearly 200 soldiers marched toward their families. they are among the very last u.s. combat soldiers to leave
the country and return home. >> it feels great. i'm real happy. it's been almost a whole year and i'm just ready to get home and spend some good time with my family. >> reporter: their return these families say is simply the best gift. >> just to have your son and your fiance out of harm's way and home. where you can put your hands around them. >> reporter: last december was also the time when california's last national guard unit came home from iraq. and ktvu's rita williams was there when they arrived at moffet field in mountain view. >> reporter: the plane that landed at moffet field could not contain them any longer. >> welcome. >> welcome home. >> reporter: enthusiastic soldiers came spilling out some making it clear what joys of home they had missed. >> thanks baby, i'm back. >> reporter: but what these members of the california
national guard returning after 10 months in iraq wanted most was waiting at the national guard armory in san mateo. >> she was sitting up when i left and now she's walking and running around and talking. >> reporter: these 60 soldiers are part of the 297 medical company. >> it's stressful out there. people dealing with rockets, bombs, issues at home. >> i'm a medic so i have to work in the hospital. i drove the ambulance around and got to help people. >> reporter: after a brief taste of what's to come they had one more separation from their families. >> the only thing between -- i'm the only thing between you and your family so we're going to give you the shortest brief on record. >> we returned home without a single casualty. >> god bless you. >> dismissed. >> reporter: dismissed but certainly not forgotten. these men and women who served their country now are just thankful to be home for the holidays. >> reporter: those were of course not the first bay area
troops to return from iraq. when a national guard unit came home to santa rosa in february 2005, ktvu's bob mackenzie was there. >> reporter: families had a long wait to see their soldiers come home. when you're eight or nine and waiting to see daddy who's been away for a year or more time can pass awfully slowly. >> i remember everything and the most thing i remember is the way we always laughed at every joke and every time that it was funny. so i remember his laugh the most. >> reporter: this is daddy? >> yeah. >> reporter: has she talked about him? >> every day. >> reporter: every day. you want to see him? >> yeah, she always wants to know when he's coming home. if he's coming home.
>> reporter: zachary hasn't seen his dad for seven months, a long time for a boy who's only 7 years old. but he remembers a lot. >> we went camping and we were going fishing. at night we were playing hide and seek and we could never find him. >> reporter: that's a long time isn't it? >> very long. >> reporter: how do you get through it? >> it's very hard. just pray a lot and you know talk to him and it's very hard. >> reporter: at last 14 national guards men who served in iraq with 185th task force were really home. >> we love you as well. >> this is the first christmas i've ever missed and don't plan
on missing any more. >> i'm just so happy to be back with him and i, i'm not going to let him go ever. >> reporter: looks like to see your daddy again or your husband after a separation of a year or 18 months that's just about as close to pure happiness as it gets. >> still to come on a second look, from world war ii to vietnam, the men who put themselves on harm's way to give the troops a little bit of home while away. bob hope. >> and --
bob hope visited the troops in 2003. we remember bob hope's entertaining the troops. >> reporter: it's hard to believe bob hope was nearly 73 years old when he first entertained the troops in 2003. >> we present the bob hope show. >> thank you, how do you do ladies and gentlemen. this is bob mosquito network hope. >> reporter: and nearly 90 when he entertained troops in the first gulf war. it was his passion. >> it's a thrill to be here in korea. nice to be here at oncave. very happy to be back here. >> happy to be here, i don't know where we are but i'm happy. >> working for the troops is an outstanding thing. i think so because you traveled all over the world doing that. >> an exciting year, the only christmas present my mother wants is to receive a note from you saying you had seen our show. do you want to save the stamp,
go ahead write a letter to mother. look into the camera and tell her if you liked the present she sent you for christmas. >> don't you want to say -- >> no that's not for you. that's my next line. don't read my next line. >> you just got back from an extended tour in south vietnam. what effect is the long drawn out talks having on the moral of the troops there. >> it doesn't expect their moral. those kids go out there to do one year and they do it. they serve with such honor and such integrity it's just amazing and all they do is think about when they're going to go home. they go over there and they'll say well i have 42 more days or i have 18 more days and like i said to the kids in the hospital. he was laying there in japan. i said you're going to see my show tomorrow and he said, no
i'm going home. so it makes you feel really big. >> are we ready? >> ♪ i wish that i could kiss each and every one of you ♪ >> you want to get a sample of that? >> reporter: during world war ii he brought his act to troops in the south pacific and entertained 15,000 marines on the island of pavu as they got ready for a big invasion. >> out of the kids 40% never got home. some months later i was going to a hospital, oakland california during my regular comedy routine and a patient covered with bandages took his hand out and said pavuvu. i greeted him and found out that the whole room was filled with guys from pavuvu.
he opened his eyes and said bob hope when did you get here. i couldn't handle that i had to walk away. that was one of the touchest moments in -- toughest moments in my life. >> reporter: bob hope hoped to be a part of the troops at one moment, and the white house in the next. he entertained many presidents. >> it is my honor to give this to you. >> i like to tell jokes about a thing like this because it's one of the nicest things that's ever happened to me and i feel very humble. >> reporter: in 1989 he came to the bay area to take part of a benefit for victims of the loma prieta earthquake. >> we're used to this because we had an earthquake down in l.a. 1971. >> hi mom.
>> hi dad. >> reporter: i'll tell you it was really something. >> it was really something i got up and ran around the house and the house got up and ran around me. >> i have been wanting to do something ever since it happened. i was thinking about it would be nice to help. >> in retrospect it was clearer, bob hope was born to entertain. >> he didn't work at anything. in other words, he was enjoying it. it wasn't work. he loved it. when you do something with love it keeps you alive forever. many comedians have followed bob hope's lead traveling to war zones to entertain troops. one of them is robin williams. in 2003 williams entertained and mingled with servicemen in
the war zone. reporter sean caleb was there. >> reporter: this is one guy who really had them at hello. >> good morning >> reporter: in robin williams quest for laughs he found a target. men and women who spend a lot of time in aircrafts. >> i love spiraling in. nothing like that to have your colon go, fire in the hole. >> reporter: troops were happy that williams played. >> the way he presented himself to everybody was real nice. come out real nice. all the sports here gave them a show. >> reporter: the king of improv did not miss a beat. >> thank you, i feel like i'm at a golf tournament.
we'll be in the third hole in afghanistan. >> reporter: it was a good time to openly laugh, snap some pictures and for a few moments forget how much they missed their families. i remembered these are red blooded troops,. >> i'm for spraying your girl, don't go oprah on me. the man sprayed me. >> reporter: for those who have been getting by with four smiles creasing their faces this was welcomed relief. the smiles were genuine. a father goes looking for his son in iraq. >> a bit later 1941 a nation on the doorstep of war. how one bay area man remembered his boyhood christmas so long ago. [ laughter ] [ girl ] wow, you guys have it easy.
blah blah blah. if i had a sleepover, i couldn't just move the tv into the playroom. no. we had to watch movies in the den because that's where the tv outlet was. and if dad was snoring on the couch, we muscled through it. is she for real? your generation has it made. [ male announcer ] the wireless receiver only from at&t u-verse. get u-verse tv for $29 a month for six months. rethink possible. in 2003, ktvu's bob mackenzie visited with a family who's christmas dinner table
had one empty chair. that of their son serving in iraq. >> reporter: some friends would be joining them later. someone who wouldn't be joining them was brendan foran the son who is serving in iraq. brendan was very much on their minds. >> i think you get through because you have to get on with the normal things of life but it's not the same. you know we're missing him and he's an integral part of his brothers and his father and i. and we're living through this. but it's with a heavy heart always. >> reporter: brendan an army specialist who grew up in danville has always been best friends with his brother bob. >> i understand he joined the military the day after september 11th. >> yeah, he went over september 12th to the recruiting center and started the process and
went to basic that january. >> reporter: so he simply wanted to do something about it. >> yeah. that's the kind of guy he is. his heart is enormous and he's not in it for himself. >> reporter: celeste says she worried about brendan every day but it helps that he writes lots of letters. >> reporter: dear mom, peace from the middle east. it's hot and hell here today. we started off this morning at 2:30 a.m. going on a mission. we are in southwest baghdad, our mission was to go into a town and clear three schools that might possibly be hiding the suicide bombers. besides the ak47 shots it was a pretty quiet mission. i've been wearing the same uniform for over 25 days without a shower. it drives you a little crazy besides some cuts and scrapes, i'm doing really well. tell my friends that i really
miss them and can't wait to get home. >> it's been hard but we're proud of him. we're so proud of him. >> i think we have a lot of faith and just a positive attitude that he's going to come home. >> shortly after the iraq war started in 2003, a father went looking for his son an american soldier serving in baghdad. it was a long dangerous journey for what turned out to be only a brief visit. molly hennenburg brings us their story. >> reporter: this is a man on a mission. he is trying to find his son george who is stationed with a company of military police in baghdad. it's been an arduous trip to get this far. >> i drove down syria, jordan, iraq. and i arrived after 28 days to baghdad.
>> hi george. >> we found him. >> reporter: 28 days of frustrations and dead ends and then success. but joe only got one night in baghdad before he had to say goodbye. george says he wasn't that surprised to see his dad in iraq. >> i knew he was going to come because he said he was going to come. and when he says he's going to do something, if there's not a way, he will find a way. >> reporter: joe says he traveled to baghdad to support his son. but his visit is boosting moral for others too. >> oh yeah, he's walking around with a smile on his face talking to his friends. it's rubbing off. makes the soldiers about their families the fond memories with their families. yeah it's contagious. >> i would say this is for professionals don't try this at home. don't come out here right now. >> reporter: he says joe may not have made it to baghdad if
he hasn't spoken fluid arabic. and joe's commander captain johns agrees. >> it's not completely safe out there in the streets of baghdad this is why they have us here to patrol the streets of baghdad. >> reporter: after a meal joe has to say goodbye to his son. before he goes, one more hug, a hand off of cigarettes and a warning from father to son not to speak too much. a bay area man remembers his boyhood christmas as a nation went to war.
in december 1941 the united states had just been attacked at pearl harbor and it joined the fight against japan and germany. for one bay area 6-year-old christmas was still a magical time. one that even 60 years later he still remembered fondly. ktvu's george watson first brought us this report in december 2001. >> reporter: christmas will always be what you make of it
and if seen through the eyes of a child even if the shadow of war it'll be a memory worth cherishing. mcgee's christmas of 1941 was preserved on home movies but he probably would have remembered it any way, after all he was only 6 years old. >> i remember i wanted crossing gating. because for my birthday my aunt gave me a railroad set and i had everything expect the crossing gates. i must have played with them for days. >> reporter: toys and christmas memories abounded for a 6-year- old boy. today almost all the toys are gone, but the christmas memories are still as vivid as they were almost 60 years ago
today. >> trains were still very much a part of daily life in the bay area in 1941. and at christmas time they brought mike mcgee's peninsula home closer to the ground zero of christmas shopping, downtown san francisco. >> the big trip was to the emporium, and that was to meet santa claus. >> reporter: mike remembers his father dan, the driving force behind the sheer laugh out loud whimsical joy of christmas. he was a sales man and a gregarious man by nature. >> he did a all to do about catching santa claus, to race
to the chimney and say, i got him. i got him. i got caught santa claus. and by the time i got down the stair, he was covered in soot. and the next year he got his boot out of the fireplace. and he said, i didn't get him this time but wait until next year. >> reporter: this christmas mike reserved the right to share his christmas joy with an old old friend teddy. >> i had it a couple of years but teddy was with me that christmas morning because i had gone to bed. i always kept teddy with me. he was my buddy. >> reporter: mike long ago moved away from that house on carnilian way. it's still there tonight and so
are the memories. playing outside out front. the families together, the laughters, the characters creates a history more long lasting than the history being made in the rest of the world. earlier i mentioned that almost all of mike's toys are gone today, one remains and today it belongs to his granddaughter katherine rose. >> my teddy, i sleep with him all night long. >> reporter: it would be simply to see christmas always as a child sees it and in a way mike mcgee still sees christmas through the eyes of a child. >> i really do through the eyes of our grandchildren. because that's what christmas is about. it's about children and they're enjoying him. and they're hardly waiting for santa claus. >> oh it's christmas, once more. -- >> that's it for this week's second loo